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Schoolboy father: 'When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get in trouble'Police rule out prosecution over pregnancy Cameron and Brown clash over 'broken Britain'
He is barely four feet tall and looks even younger than his 13 years. Yet Alfie Patten has just become the proud father of a baby girl.
The schoolboy was only 12 when his girlfriend Chantelle Stedman - who is 15 - conceived after a night of unprotected sex.
Young Alfie appeared on the YouTube video website yesterday, cradling Maisie Roxanne. Her birth, on Monday, has provoked a new political row over 'broken Britain'.
The Sun shows 13-year-old Alfie with daughter Maisie and the baby's mother Chantelle Stedman, bottom right
But its significance may be lost on Alfie, whose immaturity is evident during the brief video clip, filmed after the couple's story was sold to The Sun and they appeared on the newspaper's front page yesterday.
Asked what he will do financially, Alfie - whose voice has not yet broken - replies: 'What's "financially"?'
Penny Stedman , mother of 15-year-old Chantelle, at her home in Eastbourne, East Sussex
The baby-faced boy, who looks about eight and doesn't know the price of nappies, said they had decided against an abortion, explaining: 'I thought it would be good to have a baby.
'I didn't think about how we could afford it. I don't really get pocket money. My dad sometimes gives me £10.
'When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get into trouble. We wanted to have the baby but were worried about how people would react. I didn't know what it would be like to be a dad.
'I will be good though, and care for it.'
The teenage couple are now looking after baby Maisie at Chantelle's home.
Describing his first night acting as a 13-year-old father to The Sun, Alfie said: 'It was easier than I thought.
'I know I'm young, but I plan to be a good dad.
'I think we'll be good parents. I'll have to work extra hard at school.'
Chantelle praised her younger boyfriend but admitted their first night out of hospital had been tough.
She said: 'Alfie has been really good with her. He made the first bottle and then we took it in turns feeding her. He did the first bit with me. We didn't need any help from mum.
'I didn't really get back to sleep. I just lay there in a daze.
'I prefer it now I am at home and it is just us and our family.'
Both the teenagers changed four-day-old Maisie's nappy and the baby sleeps in Chantelle's bedroom.
Elsewhere, the reaction was less positive. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith described the astonishing case as a 'tragic example' of the nation's social decline.
Mr Duncan Smith, who runs the Centre for Social Justice think-tank, said: 'I don't know about these particular families but too many dysfunctional families in Britain today have children growing up where anything goes.
'It exemplifies the point we have been making about broken Britain. It's not being accusative, it's about pointing out the complete collapse in some parts of society of any sense of what's right and wrong.'
David Cameron said: 'When I saw those pictures, I just thought how worrying that in Britain today children are having children.
'I hope that somehow these children grow up into responsible parents, but the truth is parenthood is just not something they should even be thinking about right now.'
Gordon Brown said: 'I don't know the individual details of the case, but of course I think all of us would want to avoid teenage pregnancies.'
Children's Secretary Ed Balls said: 'It's just an awful case. You look at that young lad being a dad when he is so young - and also the teenage girl - and you think it's not right, this looks so terrible. It has got to be sorted out.'
According to the teenage parents, their baby daughter - born weighing 7lb 3oz - was conceived after a single night of unprotected sex. 'I was on the Pill but missed one,' Chantelle told The Sun.
They found out about the baby when she was 12 weeks pregnant and kept it secret for six weeks, but Chantelle's mother became suspicious when she began putting on weight.
Chantelle said she discovered she was pregnant after going to her GP with 'really bad' stomach pains.
She said: 'Me and Alfie went. The doctor asked me whether we had sex. I said yes and he said we should do a pregnancy test.
The council home of Chantelle Stedman where she, Alfie and their baby are staying with her parents
'He did the test and said I was pregnant. I started crying and didn't know what to do. He said I should tell my mum but I was too scared.
'We didn't think we would need help from our parents. You don't really think about that when you find out you are pregnant. You just think your parents will kill you.'
She added: 'We know we made a mistake but I wouldn't change it now. We will be good, loving parents. I'll be a great mum and Alfie will be a great dad.
The grandmother: Alfie's mother Nicola Patten
'I have started a church course and I am going to do work experience helping other young mums.'
Mother and child are living with Chantelle's mother Penny, 38, her out-of-work father Steve, 43, and their family in a council house in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The family live on benefits.
Mrs Stedman said: 'I told her it was lovely to have the baby but I wish it was in different circumstances. We have five children already so it's a big financial responsibility.
'But we are a family and will pull together and get through. She's my daughter. I love her and she will want for nothing.'
Alfie lives in nearby Hailsham with his mother Nicola, 43, at her £250,000 home but spends much of the time at the Stedman house, often staying the night.
His father Dennis, 45, himself a father of nine who is separated from his wife, said he was 'gobsmacked' when he discovered the schoolboy was to become a father.
'When I spoke to him he started crying,' he said. 'He said it was the first time he'd had sex, that he didn't know what he was doing and of the complications that could come.
'I will talk to him again and it will be the birds and the bees talk. Some may say it's too late but he needs to understand so there is not another baby.'
He added: 'It hasn't really dawned on him. He hasn't got a clue of what the baby means and can't explain how he feels.
Alfie's mother Nicola Patten's Sussex home
'All he knows it that mum and dad will help. When you mention money his eyes look away. And she is reliant on her mum and dad. It's crazy. They have no idea what lies ahead.'
Dennis, who works for a car recovery firm, said Alfie was 'a typical 13-year- old boy'.
'He loves computer games, boxing and Manchester United.
'He could have sat at home with his Playstation. But he has been at the hospital every day.'
The omens for Chantelle and Alfie in the long term do not appear good. Britain's youngest known father is Sean Stewart, who was 12 at the time his girlfriend Emma Webster gave birth to their son in 1998. They broke up six months later.
Ray and Shirley Webster with their daughter Emma, 15. In 1998 she became pregnant by her boyfriend Sean Stewart who lived next door
Neighbours spoke of their shock at the news. Retired hospital porter John Holmes, 90, said: 'I can't believe little Alfie is already a dad. He's just a little boy himself.
'The other day his dog ran into my garden and he had to come and fetch it. He looks so young and he's always giggling and laughing around.'
Last night it emerged that Alfie's older sister Jade, now 19, also had a baby at the age of 13.
Sean Stewart who is Britain's youngest known father. He was 12 at the time Emma gave birth to their son. They split up six months later
And rumours began circulating in Chantelle's neighbourhood that Alfie was not Maisie's father.
Sean Thomas, who lives opposite the Stedmans, claimed Chantelle had already had several boyfriends, who were allowed to stay over in her bedroom.
He said: 'She's been with quite a few lads. They are allowed to sleep over at her house, her parents don't mind. She is treated like an adult and can do what she wants.'
Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: 'The Stedmans let the kids run wild on the street until all hours, they have no control over them.'
A 17-year- old called Jake said: 'She knows lots of boys and never has the same boyfriend for long. Alfie lives with her and seems to think he's the dad but we all think he should have a DNA test.'
The age of sexual consent is 16. But Sussex Police said they had looked into the case and decided it was 'not in anyone's interests' for anyone to be prosecuted.
The force said: 'Sussex Police Child Protection Team were aware of a 14-year-old girl that had become pregnant as a result of a relationship with a 12-year-old boy.
'A joint agency investigation with East Sussex County Council Children's Services has taken place which has considered the needs of both individuals and there will be continued support for these two young people in the future.'
Matt Dunkley, director of children's services at East Sussex County Council, said: 'Any birth to parents this young is a cause of great concern to us and in these circumstances we will always offer substantial support to the families involved.'
Click to enlarge
'We have worked closely with both families since the pregnancy came to light,' he said.
"We have also worked with colleagues in the health service and with the schools concerned, to assess the needs of the young people to ensure they get the right support, and also to ensure the needs of the unborn child would be properly met.=
'That process will now continue with intensive monitoring and health visitor support.'
He added: 'In East Sussex we have a very robust sexual health strategy which is successfully reducing numbers of teenage pregnancies in the county.
'We have just launched our latest sexual health campaign as part of our on-going drive to get all our young people to take responsibility for their actions and understand the serious consequences of sexual relationships.'
Maisie was born after a five-hour labour at Eastbourne Hospital, East SussexFamily can claim £30,000 benefts
Chantelle Stedman can claim no benefits until she reaches 16, her next birthday.
But state benefits to support her and her baby will be paid to her mother Penny until then.
At a minimum, the family can expect to receive around £30,000 a year - close to £600 a week.
Penny, 38, will claim benefits to support herself and her four children including Chantelle.
She will also claim on behalf of new-born Maisie.
The family may claim benefits on the basis that Penny's unemployed partner Steve is a live-in member of the household.
If so, their claims may look like this:Child Benefit: Paid automatically for each child - £72.80 a week. Council Tax Benefit: Likely to cover the full bill - £30 a week. Child Tax Credit: Now the main payment to support children of out-of-work or low income mothers. Possible payment for the five Stedman children - £221 a week.Income Support: If paid to Penny and Steve as a live-in couple - £94.95 a week. Housing Benefit: Likely to cover the full rent of their council house, together with any service charges. This may be - £150 a week. Total: £568.75 a week, or £29,575 a year.
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Gosh - he looks so young to be a father :-o
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sad thats what happens that the kids didnt get proper displince -- sad...
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I think it's funny that Alfie looks 6 years old and has a 19 year old sister that had a baby at 13... That baby would currently be 6! :-P
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wow. he looks five. that's really scary.
Its not fair at all that these KIDS have a child and then get handouts from everyone, but the responsible couples that have children and know what it means and can provide a stable home dont. its such crap.
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TELL ME ABOUT IT! I'm having a baby next, own my home, have a good job (but still taking a huge paycut to go on maternity) and I'm married and I don't get BUGGER ALL except the generic stuff that everyone gets
Er, it's nice that your heart is in the right place and all, but the flaw in your argument is the purpose of government "hand-outs" is for people who are unable to provide a stable home. People who can don't really need them.
then they shouldnt be having children, should they? which is what im arguing. they shouldnt be GETTING handouts. maybe if they didnt, kids would think twice.
Things happen and some people don't believe in abortion. We can't deny those people help because of it.
we're talking about a 15 year old child, not an adult. whatever, i blame the parents.
So a 15-year old child shouldn't be accepting government help?
no, i dont. but to each their own.
well no they shouldnt* i dont believe they should. my b.
Well, try finding someone who will hire a 15-year old in this economy.
refer to five posts up. lol >.>
Refer to 6 posts up.
Er, this one:
"Things happen and some people don't believe in abortion. We can't deny those people help because of it. "
they shouldnt be having sex in the first place >.> maybe if nobody helped them, they'd think twice. but i cant live in lala land and we DO have to help them so lets just agree to disagree or whatever it is we're doing ^_^
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As she is 15 she wont get any help, it will be done through her parents/guardians she has no say in the matter.
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when she turns 16 she could get her own place, move the 13 yr old dad in and claim even more money, because under the law she could apply to become his carer since he's only 13 lol. messed up world.
You can only have your own place with benefits if you are living alone, so he can only stay over 3 nights a week, she can't apply to become his carer as he has parents and there is nothing wrong with him.
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lol the sun paper today saturday will disagree with you on that score.